Musing about Russia in the near and long term future

Vis a vis Russia, if there weren’t nuclear weapons in their arsenal, this would be comparatively easy - in goes NATO, job done, and NATO calls the shots for the foreseeable future (note, I said “comparatively easy”, not “easy”).

But Russia does have a nuclear arsenal, so how the hell does this go? The “west” could theoretically be stuck playing some very tricky game and doing some delicate dance, combined with careful sucking up to Putin.

I have no idea of what’s even remotely probable. You Dopers?

Because non-nuclear wars are so easy and predictable?

I can’t say exactly how many guys it would theoretically take to conquer Russia (under the counterfactual hypothesis that nobody can use nuclear weapons), but let’s start with an estimate of 4 million.

I’m sorry but did you actually read my post? I even put in a note to emphasize this. And please don’t suggest that I’m naive about warfare - I was an anti-submarine warfare officer in the mid to late '80s so I’ve laid sonobuoy patterns, and directed ASW fixed wing MPAs and helps and I’ve been overflown daily by Soviet Bear-D MPAs at slightly higher than mast-head altitude over three weeks, at the same time as our formation was being scoped out by a Krivak class frigate.

And I’ve got photos of my dad and his RCAF buddies standing amongst Berlin ruins in 1945.

So how about answering the question instead of slamming me?

And people wonder why some people leave this board.

So again, relatively easy

This is an overly strong reaction to a 2 sentence reply.
I’ll reopen the thread in 20 minutes.
Hopefully it will be a calmer and friendlier conversation at that point.

*This is just a guidance, not a warning. *

This topic was automatically opened after 19 minutes.

Really, not at all trying to slam you. Especially since you opened an interesting discussion! (And, sure, it’s easy compared to a nuclear war, since the only way to win that one is not to play.)

Let’s start over.

We need an army of 4 million personnel for this war (I mean in total, not the first wave. However that number is admittedly made up—I am not flipping through detailed invasion plans—so we should discuss it. This is merely a crude estimate based on the number of troops occupying Germany in 1945. Then again, Operation Downfall required 6 million; though Japan is an island so the situation was different). That is much higher than the number of U.S. military personnel, and even the combined forces of all of NATO. So step one is to assemble a sufficient force. How do we proceed, and how long will it take? Are non-NATO countries neutral?

During that time, Russia will be less able to prepare for the coming war because of crippling sanctions, but we still need an estimate of their defensive capabilities, and from that to figure out how many fronts to open and the timetable.

Fine, but is it not possible to ask a question, invite a discussion, without being subject to some level of snark?

I didn’t say something like “hey, isn’t war just the funnest thing of all time?” This sort of thing is not uncommon.

What makes you think that would be “comparatively easy”?
I think a conventional war against Russia would be anything but.

If history teachs us anything is that wars against Russia are never even comparatively easy, unless you are a Mongol…

What are we assuming is the objective, in this hypothetical war? If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll never succeed.

I think that the best solution is for Russia to return to its internationally agreed borders. Crimea is pretty much a fait accompli but could be a bargaining chip.

To the OP. Nato couldn’t even contain Iraq or Afghanistan. How on earth do you imagine that Nato would do any better in Russia.

Yes, why suppose that the way out of this is all-out war, rather than a messy compromise? A new Versailles or Yalta looks to me like a recipe for worse, in the medium term - even if such a thing could be achieved without much worse in the short term.

This all seems to imply that Russia can’t ever be convinced to be a productive, non-hostile part of the European community.

Yeah, that may sound like a pipe dream right now. It’s largely Russia’s own fault that it’s viewed with fear and suspicion; it seems to indicate a national character flaw that it wants to forever stand apart instead of fully engaging culturally and economically.

I don’t know what it will take to get there but losing its immoral war on its neighbor and the eventual end of Putin will be good starting points.

Yes, because pre nuclear weapons, invading Russia was a piece of cake.

I can think of only two instance where continent sized entities were conquered and occupied for a sustained length of time.
Both was the Persian Empire, by Alexander and then the Arabs. Okay you could add Genghis Khan as well, but that was a much smaller entity.

OK, let’s assume that everyone involved decides not to use nuclear weapons (to avoid world-wide catastrophe.)

Firstly NATO is a defensive organisation, reacting to attacks on any member state. North Atlantic Treaty - Wikisource, the free online library
So it’s hard to turn that coalition into an invasion.

Secondly, as has been pointed out:

Is the idea to capture Moscow?
Is NATO going to take over the governing of Russia?
Is the plan that after a series of pitched battles, the Russian Armed forces are decimated?

Thirdly, what about the backlash back home in NATO countries to civilian casualties within Russia?
What justification are the politicians going to use?

Finally, what about China’s reaction?
NATO is now a threat to the rest of the World…

the problem with russia is its extremely ingrained corruption culture, that forms part of all layers of society, from birth to death (and anything in between) and that makes them - just like Central American/Mid East failed states - practically impossible to “rehabilitate / change its course”. Kind of like trying to use a sieve for a bucket.

Likely mid/long term scenario (fueled also by the rise of renewable energy and the fall of oil) - is that Russia becomes a dying giant - somewhat of a Mongolia /N.Corea… over-aged-population, low BIP, low production, basic industry, sitting on oil while the world moved on (Lithium).

… and add to that, that now the financial blanket - that facilitated/sponsored corruption over the past 30 years is shrinking fast and competition for “grab-the-money-and-run” will be ever fiercer.

They are also a dying giant that is sitting on thousands of nukes.

Compared to all out nuclear war.